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Human rights and terrorism

The Human Rights Act is a welcome constraint on government. But can it threaten our ability to fight terrorism?

By David Goodhart   September 2005

Dear Roger 9th August 2005 The Human Rights Act—one of New Labour’s great constitutional innovations—is a welcome check on the “democratic absolutism” of British governments. By entrenching the European convention on human rights in our law, it requires public bodies—schools, prisons, government departments and so on—to uphold basic human rights, such as privacy or the right to a fair trial. This constrains crude majoritarianism, but the act is also designed to preserve most aspects of parliamentary sovereignty. A judge can declare an existing law incompatible with the Human Rights Act (HRA), and it is then left to parliament to change…

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